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Siren
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi,

My name is Siren. I'm Vietnamese but living in Australia. I speak fluently English, Vietnamese and Mandarin. I have 14 months old son and I'm worry about his speech delay. He goes to daycare 3 days a week where English is used. I have read so much about consistency and one parent one language but I'm a single parent with no family here at all. I've been trying to speak mostly to him in Vietnamese but reality is I switch between languages unconsciously. I read and sing to him in all 3 languages. He doesn't seem to understand any of my commands in any languages. If he wants something he will sign me by moving my hands to what he wants. I address myself by my name to him rather than mom consistently in all three languages. He hasn't spoken any words other than baby babbles/ jargons.

Should I make an effort to consciously just use one language or should I just keep mixing all three?
Hayato
Reply with quote  #2 
Hello Siren, 

I found your post from January. I wanted to comment. 

I respect the effort to keep your child involved in all three languages. I also respect the context that you are a single parent as well. 

Regarding the question of whether you should keep up all three to your child even though he doesn't seem to understand you  ..... that is a difficult question to answer and I can't imagine there is a single correct answer to that.

Since we cannot know what exactly is going on in your child's mind (we don't know if the child is just about to start speaking any of them, or is truly still confused on all three, or understands one and not two.....the options are endless) I would suggest as a friend from afar that we focus on your needs as a parent first. The whole situation feels "out of control" and the longer we sustain that feeling within ourselves, the less empowered we will feel as parents. That is a recipe for disaster and will not have a healthy emotional home for the child. 

If your connection with the child through a verbal correspondence is important, why not choose one and allow him to correspond with you in that? Once that confidence is found (and I imagine it will not take long at all) in your emotional tank and also the child's, then you can introduce new ones in select contexts (eg. when we eat, we speak language-A, when we go to sleep, we use language-B) to allow him to begin learning them without it all being mixed into all activities. 

Let me know your thoughts. I hope this finds you well. 

Hayato Nakamura
Los Angeles, US
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